Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale | Anderson Valley Brewing Company

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Winter Solstice Seasonal AleWinter Solstice Seasonal Ale
Very Good
Winter Solstice Seasonal AleWinter Solstice Seasonal Ale

Brewed by:
Anderson Valley Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.90%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Winter Solstice® is our take on the classic style of “winter warmer.” Boasting a deep amber hue and rich mouthfeel, its creamy finish will lift your spirits. Hints of toffee, spice, and caramel tease the senses making this the perfect ale to share with friends and family during the cold days and long nights of winter.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 745 | Ratings: 1,870
Photo of stortore
3.56/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce can into a tulip snifter. Had 6/8/18.

Pours a mostly clear medium amber, with a half inch foamy head and some foamy lacing. Aromas of malt, figs, dates, toffee, caramel, light cherries, some spices. The taste is similar to the nose- malt, caramel, dates, light cherries and plums, some spices. A light bitterness on the finish. Mostly smooth, a decent medium body, well carbonated.

This is okay, but kind of bland. Pretty good aroma, but nothing stands out, nothing to hang your hat on.

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Photo of donspublic
4.11/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from can into tulip, massive 3 finger tan head, recedes slowly, good retention and great lacing. Rubyish amber in the glass, looks like a big old barley wine, somewhat clear, not crystal, light passes thru. Toffee and caramel on the nose with a touch of spice, straight up like the description. Taste follows the nose big malty toffee, caramel and vanilla on the front with a tinge of spice on the finish. Rich and creamy yet lacking the heaviness that comes with most of these. Drinkability is high.

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Photo of rudiecantfail
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle poured into a tulip glass.

L---Clear, dark amber color. Nice, fluffy, off-white head with good retention and excellent lacing.

S---Sweet, malty & spices are upfront. Cinnamon & nutmeg.

T---Stronger spices than in the nose. Cinnamon & nutmeg are obvious. Very sweet & malty. Vanilla, caramel & toffee combine to make up the sweetness. Tastes like a winter warmer, which is their aim.

F---A bit cloying from the sweetness. Creamy. Medium feel with ok carbonation.

O---Not the best winter warmer I've had this year. Good enough, but not one I'll get again.

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Photo of josanguapo
4.52/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

De Labireatorium. En copa Teku. En almuerzo, con papas fritas con huevos fritos + san jacobo. Marcado especiado navideño con delicioso fondo de malta acaramelada y relativamente bajo abv. Descubro asi mi preferido perfil navideño!

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Photo of Lingenbrau
3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Burnt orange meets brick red. Lighlty tanned head with minimal retention.

Smells and tastes like cream soda mixed with an amber ale.

Smooth and lightly creamy. Easy to drink and on the sweet side.

A decent beer that used to be a very welcomed annual choice. A bit too sweet for my liking now.


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Photo of Fatheroftoomany
3.89/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Good deep color with thick head. Smooth taste that leaves as cleanly as water. Has that strong toffee taste that I didn’t think I would like but is definitely welcomed.

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Photo of monkist
4.43/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This might have easily been the first Winter Warmer I had - or at least, even if I had one, I didn't remember it. But this one I will for sure.
This one tastes amazing, with perfectly well balanced vanilla and bourbon, something like a kind of a cake or sweets or confectionery but without the sticky sweetness - could it even be semi dry? Therefore it is very well balanced: it feels sweet and playful but it doesn't overwhelm you with its sugars, just the sweetness in its taste. Just the sweet feeling.
A really good and unique Winter Warmer, it warms you up by making you feel good.

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Photo of FastEddy23
4.6/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very drinkable, enjoyable, smooth ,and satisfying brew! Got it in the can at Total Wine & More in St Pete, FL, Park St.N., on May 14, 2018, for $5.99.! Niiiiice! I actually drank this beer 8 or 10 years ago in the bottle and was not impressed back then. I taste some toffee and butterscotch with a nice semi-dry finish. It's a very drinkable, enjoyable, easy-drinking beer. For $5.99, this beer could not be beat when looking at getting the most bang for your buck!!!! I enjoyed drinking it out of a cold can! I love my winter warmers!!! Who's selling SnowCap??!?!?

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Photo of penguinsgoboom
3.84/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours with half-finger head that quickly dissipates. Maple syrup in color.

S: Apple, vanilla, caramel, and toffee. Not very strong.

F: Medium mouthfeel. Slightly sticky syrupy.

T: Vanilla, caramel, toffee, and nutty malts with just barely enough hops.

O: Overall, nice beer for a cold day. Very drinkable, hides the alcohol well, but also quite forgettable.

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Photo of BendBoozer
1.59/5  rDev -58.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Natural flavors added!? That's all that needs to be said about this beer. It looks flat and tastes like cream soda. I was excited when I saw a winter ale, but this is pure sugar. I may not be able to finish six pack...

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Photo of KingTen144
4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Reddish-amber color with disappointingly very little head. Smells of honey. Very tasty. Not much of that "winter spice" flavor, just a little bit, and in my opinion just the right amount. Honey is the dominant flavor for me, but there is a hint of caramel there too. Slight hoppy aftertaste to go along with the honey.

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Photo of Cnote_crafty_1
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Eye: light copper, slighty tan head with lacing and a head the dissapears very quickly.
Nose: brown malts, faint spice.
Tongue: sweet slightly roasted malts, faint spice, bit of a bitter hop at the end.
Mouth: light, but with substance to it. It is smooth, but not ultra-smooth because of the spices and hop presence.
Overall: If you were to take a Yeungling and take away the skunky aftertaste, put in a slight bit of Christmas spice flavors and give it some more alchohol(that doesn't taste like you added much more) than you would have Winter Solstice. It has that Octoberfest beer feel, but it is a bit better than most of those kinds of beer. I liked it, but it is still not my kind of beer. I got it from a friend for my birthday in a six pack. That's a true friend right? Here you go Craig, here's a 6 pack of beer!

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Photo of CDTDubstep
5/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Underrated. Nice warming brew without all the heaviness of some others. Amazing deep rich flavor of roasted nuts, toffee, and subtle spice without being a malt bomb. Very drinkable. Simple and amazing I am really liking this brewery as of late.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had this beer in my stash for a while as I traded for it quite a few months ago. It's not often that I have seasonals anymore as I tend to think that most are quite gimmicky but this one was pleasantly enjoyable and a nice surprise that stood out to me. The fact that this put a smile on my face months after the season that this was intended for was proof of how nicely this was crafted and the timeless nature of it. It's not often that I can enjoy a winter beer in the middle of the summer heat!

Nice pour to this as the mahogany hue and tan head were reminiscent of an Octoberfest or a seasonally-appropriate Marzen beer. The foam settled a bit faster than I would have liked but lingered in the form of thin but copious amounts of rings around the side of my pint glass. The liquid was on par with the lacing as the caramel and apple shone through in the nose and never backed down. Very little spice that would be present in a Winter Warmer was present here as this felt more like a Brown Ale with a copious amount of caramel and nut thrown in food good measure. Apple, pear, hazelnut, and almond were all here to go with caramel malt and some light toffee, topped off with some cream to give this sweetness. This wasn't strong either, when it came to the amount of booze, body, or carbonation as the flavors were allowed to linger long after the liquid went down.

While not a session beer, it would be incredibly easy to have another one of these after finishing off an initial bottle. It's not often that something comes along that surprises me and given that most of what I drink is now out of cans, it takes a lot for a bottle to leave this kind of impression on me. This did it and next year, I'll be reaching for one of these, and you should too! It's great for the winter solstice but nicely crafted for the rest of the year, with plenty to enjoy for any level of imbiber. Nice job all-around!

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Orange-amber color with 80% opacity. A full 1/2 finger of head with a nice frothy top layer.

Aromas of caramel, brown bread, and spices. A little on the weak side but I get the idea.

Flavor is very caramel forward, almost like caramel rolls. Nice bready undertones, with hints of pine here and there. Molasses and licorice compliment the overall profile. Brown bread finish.

Feel is creamy and just right on the carbonation. A slight dryness that evaporates immediately as soon as it appears.

Overall this beer is pretty fantastic, even several months later. I like it a lot and will buy again this winter.

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Photo of spursfaninla
3.81/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

do not get me wrong, I think this is a fine beer. it is just not a "great" beer. To me, a 4 or above is a great beer. This is good if you like to drink something alcoholic and can't tell it has alcohol. But, you can't really tell this is beer, mostly. To some, that is great. I like beer though. So, the conflicted feelings about this beer.

This is mild, sweet, and easy to drink. The flavors, as other have said, are of alcoholic cream soda. Now, I like cream soda a lot, so maybe that is why I rated this high.

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Photo of GreatHammerhead
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Look: Copper in color with a two finger off-white head of thick foam. Good head retention.

Smell: Malts with hints of cinnamon and allspice.

Taste: All I really taste are malts but that's not necessarily a bad thing. They are crisp and clean with plenty of malt flavor.

Medium thick chewy mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Finishes crisp and clean.

Overall: A very good malt forward beer.

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Photo of bmeehan
3.94/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer has a nice spicy sweetness to it that reminds me of a cider. It's not so sweet that it loses its beer taste, but it's got notes closer to honey than I usually find in a winter ale.

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Photo of allforbetterbeer
3.62/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

From and undated can into a goblet.

Pours with a cloudy "ruddy orange" body under an awesome off-white billowy head.

On the Nose: pineapple, caramel-apple, sugar-crusted holiday bread crust.

The flavor combines some really appealing elements. Pineapple and raisin caramel dominates, with nice (but restrained) notes of oxidation. Fruit-cake and a faint whiff of spice cabinet round things out. Lower bitterness but not too sweet either.

Conclusion: A fruitier version of this style, which is nice. I still prefer maltier iterations (such as Jubelale), but this style is broad enough to incorporate both sides of the spectrum easily. A very good winter beer.

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Photo of bambam2517
3.59/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark ruby/black tea in appearance, very little carbonation or head. No lacing.

Sweet malty and nutty smell, taste backs that up. It's a bit muted, but not bad.

Clean and wet mouthfeel. This is a fair beer, very sessionable, but not memorable. I prefer my winter warmers to crank up the flavor...

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Photo of Bluerabbitbell
4.18/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Rose Bowl game at sharp edge. Tried this after an American stout, so it wasn't as enjoyable. Definite toffee notes. Would not be my first choice, but I think it's a good example of this style.

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Photo of drtth
4.17/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours out into a Duvel glass a nice clear rich reddish amber color with a 1 1/2" light tan head that recedes slowly leaving some thick, fluffy lacing on the sides of the glass. Sipping leaves some scattered patches of lacing. For most of the beer there’s a ring of foam around the glass and a thin layer of foam on the surface.

The aromas include some caramel and some gentle winter spices such as vanilla and nutmeg and possibly a bit of cinnamon. There's also some some toffee in the mix.

The flavors are much as expected from the nose including some caramel and toffee sweetness accented by the vanilla along with a bit of nutmeg. There’s not much bitterness but what is there seems slightly earthy.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and quite smooth with gentle persistent carbonation. The finish begins as the sweetness fades and the spices fade more slowly. That bit of bitterness emerges to pair with some vanilla and then end things in slightly bitter earthy dryness.

Overall an enjoyable beer that seems well made and ideal for a winter warmer that delivers some nice flavors but doesn’t overwhelm the senses. Glad I’ve got a couple more waiting in the fridge.

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Photo of ordybill
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. The appearance is a clear amber color with a medium sized white head. The aroma is grainy with some malt and spice. The taste is pretty sweet with malt and has a creamy texture with a hint of spices.

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Photo of Griffin2
3.56/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.
L - -Poured a dark amber with a slight white head.
S - Smells of malt and spices.
T - Tastes sweet with maltiness and some spices on the finish.
F - Feels moderately carbonated.
O - Decent winter ale.

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Photo of Maverick-Idaho
1.93/5  rDev -50.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours into the glass with a nice head that doesn't last, probably due to low carbonation. Looks red orange in the glass, like the label. Smell is initially like beer, but disappoints with spicy notes. The taste is initially like molasses, but leaves a funny disagreeable aftertaste, probably the fancy spices. The feel on the palate is half flat and definitely not as warm as expected. Overall a disappointment. Would not recommend or ever buy again.

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Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 1,870 ratings